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The Magic Online Legacy Metagame

Exactly 6 months ago I broke down the Legacy metagame before GP Seattle. Today I’ll show you how things have changed and how Eldrazi have shaken up the format.

My analysis will take into consideration the decks that 5-0’d Magic Online Leagues from the 23rd of April to the 5th of May.

What does this mean?

  • This isn’t going to be a full metagame breakdown—this analysis shows the most successful decks, not necessarily the most played.
  • You are going to see 0 Lands decks, and this is due to the fact that the deck is incredibly expensive on MTGO—for instance, Rishadan Port is around 165 tix, and the cards aren’t interchangeable in other decks.

This is the representation of the winning decks from these 13 Leagues:

Among the 67 players that emerged victorious in their leagues, 27 of them played Miracles, resulting in 40.3% representation!

This data is huge—I’m positive that this doesn’t represent the real metagame as you don’t see all those Miracle decks around, but this shows you how busted and well tuned this deck is.

Why such dominance? What happened to the fair decks like BUG Shardless, Jund, and Punishing Abzan that used to keep the deck in check? The answer sits in the third-most played deck: Eldrazi.

Eldrazi isn’t necessarily a powerhouse, but has some very powerful tools to fight combo decks with Chalice of the Void for 1 and midrange decks with a fast start and huge creatures that get around Abrupt Decay and Lightning Bolt.

Miracles used to have hard time fighting the Eldrazi menace, but Monastery Mentor solves the matchup by pressuring them and creating blockers for their non-trample creatures.

They have Dismember to deal with it, but it’s not a reliable solution.

Let’s meet the enemy. This is the tier 1 deck, and everything else is playing catch-up:

Miracles

Mzfroste, 5-0 in an MTGO League

This deck list doesn’t have anything special besides the 2 main-deck copies of Pyroblast for the huge number of blue decks that populate Legacy. I don’t think you really need 2 since this isn’t the Dig Through Time era anymore, but this certainly shows you the dominance of blue in Legacy.

Where have all the combo decks gone?

Ad Nauseam Tendrils and Omni-Tell used to rule this format, even before Dig Through Time, but now with Miracles’ dominance, it is very hard for them to be successful again.

On top of that, Eldrazi is ready with Chalice for 1 and Grixis Delver isn’t a good matchup at all.

I’m sorry combo players, but this isn’t your time.

What does “Delver decks” mean?

I chose to amalgamate all the Delver variants to show that Miracles isn’t the lone well represented deck (it is).

Among the 11 players that went 5-0 in the last 2 weeks of MTGO Leagues, these were the versions of Delver they played:

  • 4 Sultai Delver
  • 3 Grixis Delver
  • 2 Temur Delver
  • 2 UR Delver

Delver decks have been around for a long time and their tempo-plan is clear and straightforward, but why do you only see a few Delver decks winning Leagues?

Once again the answer is Miracles—Counterbalance is an amazing card and is almost unbeatable for 3/4 of these decks. The most successful one is Sultai, which runs 4 copies of Abrupt Decay main deck.

Terminus is another huge card in the matchup. You can’t overextend, and it will eventually get you. Invasive Surgery is a nice answer to it, as is Vendilion Clique since she’s able to remove the Miracle in your opponent’s hand before they have the chance to cast it.

UR Delver isn’t a deck that you see around since Treasure Cruise was banned. A friend of mine, Andrea Ghesini, 5-0’d 2 MTGO Leagues and finished 2nd in an Italian tournament with 187 players with UR Delver. Since it’s a deck that’s flying under the radar, I figured it might be interesting to show it to you:

UR Delver

Andrea Ghesini, 2nd place at OvinoSpring Milan 2016

Stormchaser Mage is definitely a good addition to this tempo deck. Good old UR Delver Burn is never really out.

Of course, Counterbalance is a problem but you have a lot of burn spells that can get in front of Miracles pretty easily—also remember that Exquisite Firecraft can sometimes steal the game by itself.

That’s all for this week! Next time you prepare for a Legacy tournament, don’t forget your Pithing Needles at home!

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